Da Nang Damned!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Medications for Treating Back Pain

A few years ago when I was a younger person, if you had an aching back your choice of medication was limited to aspirin, one or two prescription drugs and a spinal injection. Thankfully today they are many effective and relatively safe over the counter medications and prescription drugs you can take. Below are the more common drug treatments in use today.

Of course you need to discuss with your doctor the right drug therapy for your back problem and the possible side effects. Also make sure you tell your doctor of any medications over the counter or prescribed that you are currently taking. Don't forget to tell him/her of any herbal treatments or supplements you might also be taking all of these combined with a prescribed drug may have undesirable results.

Acetaminophen, an analgesic used exclusively for acute pain. It can be used alone or in combination with NSAIDs.

Opioids are carefully prescribed for back pain due to their addictive nature. These drugs are not a first line of treatment, but may be used in select situations.

NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs) help to decrease inflammation and promote healing.

COX-2 Inhibitors (a type of NSAID) may allow patients to take higher doses without the accompanying gastrointestinal side effects from conventional NSAIDs.

Muscle relaxants are often prescribed for severe pain. However, some experts believe that NSAIDs are just as effective.

Again understand that any medications even herbal or OTC (over the counter) may have serious side effects. Talk to your physician before taking any medications for back pain.

Also know that all of these medications although they may relieve the pain do not resolve the underlying cause for the aching back. You need to find a program or system to cure your bad back for good.

One of the top rated programs is called the Lose The Back Pain System developed by therapists and doctors of the Healthy back Institute. This program has helped thousands by strengthening muscles and eliminating muscles imbalance.

As someone who has suffered with a bad back and who has endured months of physical therapy and an operation, I can tell you there are solutions for your discomfort. To help myself and others cope with an aching back I have created this blog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ready To Go Back To Work

After weeks of phsyical therapy and a follow up appointment with my surgeon, I have the ok to start working again. I have some mixed feelings about to work. First although I feel much better, putting my body thru 10-12 hours days which include a lot of driving concerns me. The doctor and the therapist warned me that I will feel exhausted and probably have some increased pain until my body adjusts.

Secondly I am in sales. Sales is an great profession and I have a strong database of loyal customers. But sales is also based on daily performance (sales). With the economy still struggling sales are down company wide and I don't want to be the lower salesperson on the totem pole.

Thirdly although I haven't been able to really enjoy my time off.I have liked the time away from the daily work grind. Time to read, surf the net. But most important to be with my wife, kids and grandkids. I am thankful for all the great info I have learn fromLose the Back Painputting this system into my daily life has made a difference.

Oh well, I go back to work on the 3rd of August. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Curing Back Pain With Spinal Injections

The thought of someone sticking a needle in my spine does not thrill me. Especially when the needle looks instead of a human. But if a spinal injections can stop the back pain and let me return to a normal life I am ready to try it. If this sounds like you and you are desperately seeking a cure to stop your back from aching then read on.

So exactly what is a spinal injection? Basically a needle is inserted into the epidural space surrounding your vertebra and a solution of anti-inflammation medication and or steroid is injected into the space. The idea is to block the pain, give you some relief and give your doctor a better idea of what the problem is. Although not as invasive as surgery there are risks and you should discuss these with your doctor.

In my case I decided not to opt for the injections. I based this on a three reasons.

1. I don't like needles! Seriously two of my friend had injections. For one the pain returned two days after the shot was given and for another he was pain free for six months, but eventually had to get another shot.
2. In my specific case surgery was the best option.
3. The shot may bring relief for awhile, but it doesn't cure what ever is causing the pain.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trigger Points and Back Pain

What are trigger points and why are they causing my back pain? That's the question I asked my physical therapist. I had been hearing a lot about trigger points and the role they play in pain management and I wanted to get my therapists opinion as to what there were, what's the causing this trigger points to "fire up" and what can be done to treat them. Here's what I found out.

1. Doctors have identified certain focal points located in tight bands of skeletal muscle as playing a role in pain management. When these points are pressed these pints will produce pain.

2. Often found in the muscles of the neck, shoulders and pelvic girdle, muscles used to . maintain body posture. This trigger points can manifest themselves as headaches, tinnitus, jaw pain and lower back pain.

As my therapists explained acute trauma such as whip lash, incorrect lifting or even a sneeze can cause these points to fire up causing pain and decreased range of motion.

Ultrasonography, manipulative therapy and injection, are used to inactivate trigger points. Injections have been shown to be the most effective in reducing pain.

However all these treatments only address the symptoms and not the true causetrue cause. Something is causing this trigger points to fire up, many times it is a back dysfunction caused by muscle imbalance. This can be treated with a program of specific exercises designed for your unique condition.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back Surgery: Seven Things Your Surgeon Won't Tell You!

Modern medicine is wonderful all the new treatmments, micro and laser surgery, MRI and new vaccines make one feel good they are living in todays world and not 100 or even 50 years ago. New techniques in surgery enable most of us to have a procedure that would of required days in the hospital to now be perform as an outpatient operation. Surgeons for the most part are highly skilled and caring professional. But there are things a surgeon won't tell you when it comes to an operation and in this case a back surgery.

1. Many back surgeries fail to relieve the pain and discomfort. There is even a name for it "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome". This is where the pain returns even though the surgery was a "mechanical success". This was the case with my operation.

2. Risk of infection: My friend had the same procedure I had and was pain free afterwards (Lucky Guy!) However a few days later he was back in the hospitall with a severe infection (Not so lucky!) and had to endure another more complication operation. He has recovered, but if the infection wasn't treated quickly it could have led to major complications.

3. Nerve damage: The surgeon is cutting very close to major nerves in your body a slight knick can cause paralysis.

4. Bone chip and other debrie: During an operation especially if the surgeon is removing part of the vertebra minute bone chips and other debres are created if this isn't completely remove it cann call problems later.

5. Anesthesia complications: All surgies have the risk of complications from anesthesia. Nausea and vomiting can occur as a reaction to an anesthesia. The tube inserted in the throat can can irritation.

6. Blood Clots

7. Bleeding

It's obvious that you need to have a serious talk with your doctor and make sure he covers and completely answers all your questions. After all it's your body. I believe it is also critical to explore other non-surgical ,natural treatments and cures before undergoing the knife. There are proven and effective non-invasive treatment programs and systems.

One of the top rated programs is called the Lose The Back Pain System developed by therapists and doctors of the Healthy back Institute. This program has helped thousands by strengthening muscles and eliminating muscles imbalance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is Acupuncture A Cure For Back Pain?

Acupunture is the ancient chinese practice of insert small needles into you body a certain specific points. The principle is that these needles stimulate your nerves and can relive pain and discomfort as well as treat numerous diseases. But can acupunture really cure my back pain?

I define a cure as something that will forever fix what ever it is that ails me. Most so called "cures"are not really cures but only prevent the disease. The flu vaccine for example will prevent you from catching it, but not cure you once you get it. Some treatments will reliev the problem/illness but again will not cure.

Acupunture falls into this group. It won't cure nor will it prevent but it will relieve the symptoms. Many studies support this that for the majority of people most find some relief for their pain from acupunture.

To truely be a cure a treatment, vaccine and/or medicine most treat the symptoms and stop the disease/pain from coming back.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pain and Inflammation

Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, much like a fever. And just like with a fever, most people simply mask the pain instead of dealing with the underlying cause of the problem.

In addition to dealing with the underlying cause, it's important that you also deal with the inflammation. In fact, millions of people who suffer from various aches and pains like arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia and others do so because of chronic internal inflammation.

What is Inflammation and How Does It Cause Pain? Inflammation is a response from your immune system in response to an irritant. For example, if you sprain your ankle, your immune system creates a protein called a Circulating Immune Complex (CIC for short). The CIC travels down to the injured ankle and causes pain and swelling.

The pain you feel is to inform you of the injury or damage. And the swelling is protective as it prevents you from moving it and causing more irritation. This is also your body's way of running to the problem with fresh blood, antibodies and vital cells in order to begin healing and repairing the damage.

Then what normally happens is our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes which counteract the inflammation, and things return to normal. That's why a sprained ankle as a young child heals within a few weeks at most, but can take six weeks or more for an adult of say 45.

The problem is, after around age 25, our production of these enzymes drops off almost completely so there is nothing to tell the body to stop the inflammation. These enzymes are also responsible for cleaning the blood, fighting off viral and bacterial infections and breaking down excess fibrin (scar tissue).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Can Yoga Cure An Aching Back?

I recently finished six weeks of physical therapy after my back surgery. The therapist sat me down for a "discharged interview". We discussed a variety of things that would help me continue my recovery. One of the questions I asked him was "Can yoga cure my back pain?

His short answer was "yes" followed by a "but". This question lead to a lively discussion of yoga that I believe would be helpful to other back sufferers.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. Yoga is well known for increasing flexibility, strength, breathing, circulation, etc. there are several different types of yoga and each type has many exercises or positions. Some positions are easy and gentle to perform and others difficult. So which are the best yoga exercises for a bad back? Here are some steps you can take to determine if yoga is right for your aching back.

1. First talk to your doctor. Get his okay. He/she may even recommend a yoga instructor.
2. Contact a couple of yoga instructors. Tell them your specific condition. Most will allow you to attend a class before signing up and paying a fee.
3. Hatha Yoga is known for it's gentle movements and is usually the best type of yoga for a person with a back condition.
4. Start with learning correct breathing techniques. This will help you relax. Relaxation is a key to managing your pain and lowering stress.
5. Be ready to stop if any movement becomes painful. Forget the old saying "No pain no gain"
6. Modify the movements to suit you. A good instructor will be happy to help you modify a movement. Finally remember you are a "work in progress" be patient and gentle with yourself.

Yoga can be a way to relieve back painback pain and prevent it from ruining your life. But it's critical to find a capable instructor who understands and has training in helping people with a sore back. I have practiced yoga for many years both before and since my back injury although yoga can be very beneficial I believe there are other alternatives that could better serve you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Treating A Herniated Disc

A recent report on herniated disc by the Mayo clinic supports what The Healthy back Institute, physical therapist and other experts have advocated, that when it comes to treating a herniated disc surgery is not the cure.

The traditional treatments such as ice/heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications and even surgery. May delievr some relief but failed to get at the root cause of the problem.

The only way to get at this root cause is to treat the dysfunction. In many cases the dysfunction is weak muscles or muscles that are out of balance. The best "fix" for this is a system or program designed specifically for your unique situation. One of the best systems is the one developed by the Healthy Back Institute. Their program The Lose The Back Pain System is designed to treat the dysfunction, cure the pain and prevent in from coming back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Are The Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Low back pain will affect four out of five people during their lifetime. The most common symptom of a herniated disc is sciatic pain. Sciatica is best described as a sharp, often shooting pain that begins in the buttocks and goes down the back of one leg. This is most often caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve that exits the spinal cord. Other symptoms include:
• Weakness in one leg or both legs
• Numbness and tingling in one leg (pins & needles)
• A burning pain centered in the low back
• Loss of bladder or bowel control (seek medical attention immediately)
Back Pain pain with gradually increasing leg pain. (If you have weakness in both legs. Seek immediate attention.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's A Herniated Disc?

Diagnosed With a Herniated Disc?

By: Dr. Robert Duvall, DPT, ATC, MGFI

You've probably heard people say they have a "slipped" or "ruptured" disc in the back. Sometimes they complain that their back “went out”. What they're most likely describing is a herniated disc. This condition is a common source of back and leg pain.

Discs are soft cushions found between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column (your backbone). In the middle of the spinal column is the spinal canal, a hollow space that contains the spinal cord. The nerves that supply the arms, leg, and torso come from the spinal cord.

The nerves from the neck supply the arms and hands, and the nerves from the low back supply the butt and legs. The discs between the vertebrae allow the back to move freely and act like shock absorbers.

The disc is made up of two main sections. The outer part (the annulus) is made up of tough cartilage that is comprised of series of rings. The center of the disc is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. A disc herniates or ruptures when part of the jelly center pushes through the outer wall of the disc into the spinal canal, and puts pressure on the nerves. A disc bulgedisc bulge is when the jelly substance pushes the outer wall but doesn't completely go through the wall.

This post is the first of a series of posts featuring experts in the field of back pain. Dr. Duvall is associated with The Healthy Back Institute and it's program Lose The Back Pain. For more info including videos and free reports clock on the "Lose The Back Pain" photo on the right.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mayo Clinic Report on Back Pain

The Mayo Clinic recently completed a report on back pain and it's causes. According to this report four out of five adults will experience back problems sometime in their lives.

So what are the causes? According to the Mayo researchers there are a number of causes including:

1. Muscles and ligament strains caused by improper lifting or a sudden awkward movement.

2. Herniated Disc; Cause when a disc bulges out due to strains. This was my problem, herniated disc in the lower back..

3. Sciatica: When the bulging disc puts pressure on nerve roots (pinched nerve) . Yeah I had that.

4. Arthritis:

5. Scoliosis and/or un natural curves in the spine.

6. Osteoporosis; When the bone loses calcium becomes brittle and breaks.

What can be done to reduce this tremendous cost? According to the Mayo Clinic the major way to reduce or eliminate back problems is to follow a regular exercise program. Time and time again in report after report exercise is the most highly rated way to relieve a bad back and prevent it from coming back.

One of the top rated programs is called the Lose The Back Pain System developed by therapists and doctors of the Healthy Back Institute. This program has helped thousands by strengthening muscles and eliminating muscles imbalance.

As someone who has suffered with a bad back and who has endured months of physical therapy and an operation, I can tell you there are solutions for your discomfort.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some More Causes of an Aching Back

Here's some more causes of an aching back. Some not so obvious. But all could be corrected or prevented by a system of proper exercise and diet.

1. Smoking: Now I'm a nonsmoker and certainly know of the risks involved in smoking. But I not sure of the connection between smoking and a bad back.

2. Obesity: Makes sense - carrying around extra weight is going to put additional strain on your back.

3. Older Age: Okay as we age muscles get weaker and bone loses calcium. Disc in the spine lose flexibility and deteriorate.

4. Female Gender: Again I don't know why unless it has something to do with pregnancy.

5. Physically Strenuous Work : Again makes sense.

6 Sedentary Work: Sedentary work can led to weak muscles, then you play a round of golf on the weekend - results a pain in the backk

7. Stressful Job: I think we are only just beginning to understand the role stress can play in our overall health.

8. Anxiety & Depression: Same as above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Back Surgery and Rehab

If anyone had told me how long and painful my back surgery"and rehab would be I might have put off the operation and tries other non surgical treatments.

As it was I had injured myself at work resulting in a herniated disc and sciatic pain. Now I did try a couple of standard conservative treatments including rest, Tylenol, ice packs and physical therapy.

Although all of these gave me some help the results were temporary. The pain always came back. Probably because I was still working. For six months my life consisted of go to work come home, eat supper and lay down until it was time to go to bed.